What You Need To Upgrade Your Golf Cart To Lithium Batteries

Posted August 13, 2021

Are you interested in upgrading your golf cart or LSV to lithium batteries but unsure what you’ll need to make the conversion? If you are looking at lithium batteries for these vehicles, chances are you are replacing the lead-acid batteries that came with them so that you can enjoy all the benefits of lithium power. A lithium-ion golf cart battery conversion can be a simple process, but this can be dependent upon the lithium option you choose for your vehicle. Here are some things that need to be considered before selecting which lithium golf cart battery you’ll install prior to your conversion.

What Size Battery Do I Need?

48V InSight Series Lithium Golf Cart Battery

The first thing to look for when upgrading to lithium is that you’re choosing a drop-in replacement size battery. The most common lead-acid golf cart battery is a group-size GC2/GC8 battery. Therefore, if you choose a lithium battery that is the same size, such as RELION’S InSight Series™ 48V lithium golf cart battery, it will make for a much easier installation because it fits directly into your existing battery compartments with no tray modifications needed.

Next, determine your battery size requirements. At RELiON, we typically recommend our InSight 48V battery. It’s 48 volts and 30-amp hours making it compatible with 48V golf carts. The batteries are connected in parallel meaning you can scale to get the power needed. When you use 8-Volt lead-acid batteries, you must use 6 batteries to get the required 48-Volts to run your vehicle. There are various batteries available, offering different amounts of energy, but once you choose a particular one, you are stuck with it, unless you replace the entire set of batteries. In other words, if you install 170 Amp-hours, you have committed to that capacity for the life of the battery set.

If you’re using a 48V lithium battery connected in parallel you don’t need to install a specific number of batteries to meet the voltage requirements – you install the number of batteries that will give you the mileage range you desire. You can use as few as 2 batteries or up to 6 batteries in a typical golf car.

How Do I Determine My State Of Charge?

InSight Series Lithium Battery Fuel Gage

Consider installing a Fuel Gauge so you’re always able to view your state of charge. Over time, we’ve learned that voltage-based gauges are not accurate when measuring lithium-based chemistry. That is why we developed a fuel gauge that receives real-time current data from all parallel connected battery CANs and calculates the remaining amp hours as a percentage from 0-100%. The fuel gauge will display several messages throughout its operation cycle such as the number of batteries detected, State of Charge as a percentage from 0-100%, a “LOBATT” message that displays when the battery bank is below 20% state of charge, and a “LOBATT” message that flashes when the battery bank is below 10% state of charge. RELiON also offers a Remote Button that can be mounted externally to the battery compartment. This will allow you to turn on and off all batteries connected in parallel with one button. If you purchase the remote button and fuel gauge, the CAN splitter cable is included, but be sure to select the proper length wire harness. Which length harness you select will depend on the distance between the battery compartment and your desired mounting location.

How Do I Charge My Lithium Battery?

Another item you will want to have when upgrading your vehicle to lithium batteries is a charger. Before we mention the battery chargers we recommend, there are a few things you need to confirm when selecting a charger for your setup. First, you should verify that the charge profile you are using, or the one that is on your charger, is appropriate for lithium batteries by checking the voltage setpoints. You can look at the voltage set points for our batteries located in the lithium battery charging instructions document on our website.

For the best performance, you want to choose a lithium battery and a charger that will come loaded or can be loaded with the correct algorithm. RELiON recommends several chargers including Lester Summit Series 2, Delta-Q IC Series, Delta-Q Quiq Series, and Pro Charging Systems Eagle Performance. There are many other chargers that work, but those listed will include RELiON’s algorithm, which optimizes user experience and performance. If you’re unsure of the charger and if an algorithm is available, reach out to the manufacturer for guidance on how to successfully charge your lithium batteries.

Do I Need Battery Spacers?

Golf Cart Lithium Battery Connection

Yes, if you’ve chosen a lithium drop-in solution that is the same GC2 size as your lead-acid batteries, you may want to consider battery spacers. Battery spacers are used to fill the empty battery slots when installing true drop-in replacement batteries, such as RELiON’s InSight 48V batteries. By using battery spacers to fill the empty spots, you're able to use the existing battery hold-down that comes in your vehicle. This makes installation easier while ensuring your batteries are properly held down. We recommend you purchase the number of battery spacers needed to properly fill all empty slots in your cart or low-speed vehicle.

You should now know what you need to begin your upgrade to RELiON lithium in your equipment. One great way to get everything you need for your golf cart lithium battery conversion is by the 48V InSight Series™ Product Bundle. This bundle includes 2 InSight 48V batteries, 4 spacer batteries to fill the empty battery slots, a fuel gauge, a remote button, and a RELiON approved charger. If you have any questions, please contact us.